If you need any more proof that fans of the Cleveland Browns are either the most loyal — or the most masochistic — please refer to local television ratings numbers for the 2013 NFL season.
According to Sports Business Daily, the Browns had a 29.0 local rating in the Cleveland-Akron area this year. This was the same number last year, up five percent from 2011 (27.7) and ahead of the league-wide average at 28.5.
In case you've medicated to forget this past season, the Browns finished 4-12. It was the sixth consecutive season Cleveland finished with 11 or 12 losses.
So, why are people turning in to watch the hapless Browns? The easy answer is: It's the NFL and everyone watches the NFL.
Not in every city.
Let's begin in … oh, I don't know … Pittsburgh. The Steelers were one of 10 teams that have had two consecutive seasons of ratings decline. While Pittsburgh had one of the league's best local ratings at 38.2, it is still well below 44.1 from 2012 and 45.6 from 2011.
Expanding to within the AFC North, the Bengals may have trouble getting fans to the stadium, but Cincinnatians tune in. The Bengals were down two percent from last year, but still at 33.3. Meanwhile, the defending Super Bowl champions weren't the same team in 2013 and people in Baltimore took noticed. The Ravens, at 33.9, were one spot ahead of the Bengals, but it was a nine percent decline from 2012.
Here are bottom five teams:
•Rams (St. Louis), 18.0
•Dolphins (Miami-Fort Lauderdale), 17.1
•Giants (New York City), 15.3
•Jets (New York City), 12.3
•Raiders (San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose), 10.9
Here are your top five teams:
•Saints (New Orleans), 52.0
•Broncos (Denver), 43.5
•Packers (Milawukee), 42.9
•Chiefs (Kansas City), 42.9
•Seahawks (Seattle-Tacoma), 38.6
A big chunk of homes in New Orleans are watching the Saints on a Sunday. The Saints are good. The city loves football and its pro team. Similar to Cleveland. Imagine what that number would be from Cleveland-Akron if the Browns ever won games on a consistent basis like the Saints. 55? 60? 70? No doubt.